Bengali film Habji Gabji, which will release this week, deals with the perils of online exposure of children. This is especially relevant at a time when children are spending more time on connected-devices, especially as online schooling had become the norm during pandemic years. The consequences were exacerbated when parents could not always monitor their wards' online activity during this time.
“The idea for the film struck us when a child member of our extended family developed certain behavorial disorders a couple of years ago,” Subhashree Ganguly, a lead actor in the film, told reporters on Sunday. "She withdrew from the people around her and became a loner. She was always seen with her mobile playing online games with friends she had made on the net from different parts of the world. Every effort to convince and dissuade the child would fail," Ganguly added. She met with reporters after an interaction with parents and children about how addiction to mobile games can make their children unsocial, distracted and fidgety.
The film revolves round a successful working couple whose lives plunge into turmoil due to their child's addiction to mobile games. "Now that the pandemic has eased a bit, it is for every parent to see to it that their children, including teenagers don't get addicted to mobiles, and monitor what they are doing," Chakraborty, also TMC lawmaker, said.
Ganguly, who did the research for the film along with her husband, director Raj Chakraborty, said they had spoken to clinical behavourial psychologists and guardians of children, in addition to looking at related articles and news reports. "We thought that as parents…this topical and important issue confronting the present day society should come up in our film," Ganguly said.
Subhashree said adults ought to follow strict cut-off times for with their own connected devices, so that children may then follow suit. When asked about their film's unusual name, and if it was intentionally reminiscent of the name of the mobile game PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, banned in 2020 in India), its other lead actor Parambrata Chatterjee said it was possible since the film focuses on the issue of mobile gaming.